Family rescued after tubing accident pushes them against fallen trees in B.C. river

·3 min read
Trail, B.C., resident Katelyn Olson and her family and friends were stuck in the strong current under two fallen trees in Kettle River near Grand Forks, B.C., on Thursday. (Submitted by Darrell Kube - image credit)
Trail, B.C., resident Katelyn Olson and her family and friends were stuck in the strong current under two fallen trees in Kettle River near Grand Forks, B.C., on Thursday. (Submitted by Darrell Kube - image credit)

Katelyn Olson didn't expect a leisurely tubing adventure along a B.C. river to end with her family being pulled out by rope, so she's grateful their rescuer was at hand.

On Thursday afternoon around 4:30 p.m. PT, the Trail, B.C., resident and her family accidentally floated near two large fallen trees in the Kettle River and became trapped in the strong current flowing beneath them in Grand Forks, about six kilometres north of the Canada-U.S. border. in the Kootenay-Boundary region.

"There was something like … a rapid that caught our tube," Olson said Friday to Dominika Lirette, the guest host of CBC's Radio West. "Our tube as well as our feet smacked right into the trees."

Olson, 21, said as she and her boyfriend tried to figure out what to do, her mother, sister and two friends also crashed into the trees and their tubes flipped over.

"The current was so strong that as soon as the tubes flipped, they were sucked underneath the trees," she went on. "They were trying their hardest to be able to get out of the water."

Submitted by Katelyn Olson
Submitted by Katelyn Olson

Olson's sister Caroline and her friend both hit their heads on the trees when they tried to get out of the strong currents. Caroline sustained a concussion and was later hospitalized.

"[Caroline] was going to puke and she was really, really dizzy, and her friend had a really bad headache," Olson said.

Her mother injured her shoulders hitting the trees.

Submitted by Katelyn Olson
Submitted by Katelyn Olson

They were rescued thanks Darrell Kube and his wife and friends who live nearby. The Good Samaritans dragged them out of the river with ropes and drove them back to where their vehicles were parked.

"He said, 'As soon as I saw your eyes go wider and wider and wider, I knew you were in serious danger,' " she said about Kube's friend. "He jumped in as well as two of his family members, and they pretty much grabbed on to me and they tried to pull me out."

"They grabbed us water and blankets," she continued. "He pretty much went into [a] full-on hero mode — it was honestly amazing."

Submitted by Darrell Kube
Submitted by Darrell Kube

Kube — who moved to Grand Forks from Alberta several months ago — said the trees fell a week ago and had wreaked havoc on tubers and rafters.

"I'm surprised that the city will not do anything," he told CBC's Christine Coulter.

The City of Grand Forks told CBC that Kettle River — as well as the sweeper in it — falls within the provincial jurisdiction.

The B.C. Ministry of Forests wrote to CBC that it doesn't usually remove fallen trees from rivers and creeks.

"We encourage the public to be precautious and aware when it comes to potential hazards that could exist in the outdoors like fallen trees, rapids, waterfalls, and other hazards," the provincial statement said.

Meanwhile, Olson and her family are camping in Christina Lake, about 21 kilometres east of Grand Forks. She said Caroline has been getting better.

"She's doing OK now — my dad's a nurse, so he's been checking on her pretty much constantly since that happened, making sure she's drinking enough fluids and making sure she doesn't get too dizzy."

Tap the link below to hear Katelyn Olson's interview on Radio West:

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